February 28, 2015

First shot at Simcoe in 2015

Michael had been tempting me to fish one of the spot he found last winter. I had little time to fish until recently, but finally make a point to fish Simcoe at least once before the season is over.

We got off to a later start than usual since there was a good size pressure crack we need to cross. I didn't want to risk making that crossing in the dark so cooler heads prevailed. We were blessed with a beautiful sunrise though.

Already bright out when we set up camp, we started to mark fish within 5 minutes. It was the second fish that we marked when the fish took a fancy to my tube jig and the first Lake Whitefish of 2015 was landed!

The fast start was an illusion to our tough day ahead. After sitting on that spot for the next hour barely marking much at all, we decided to move. Throughout the day, we moved many times fishing various depths around this structure. From the deepest 65 feet to the shallowest 25 feet, we often drilled a couple of holes and saw one or two fish at each location, then a whole lot of blank screens on the sonar. It was as if our holes were drilled directly on top of the fish; and once they refused our lures and left, we were fishing on top of a barren wasteland.

We started to call these the "token fish"...the single or, if we were lucky, pair of fish that we would expect from each new location. If the "token fish" had already shown up, we needed to move. Fishing this run and gun manner, we managed to lose a couple more whitefish before Michael finished the day with a late afternoon addition to our catch.

Curious about what these whitefish had been eating, I opened the stomach of the fish I took home to find it ballooned with scud and 4 Round Goby. The fish Michael took home had a couple of Round Goby only.

Now my freezer has whitefish in it again!

February 16, 2015

Finally...a fish report!

Wow! It has been sooooo long since this blog was updated. I've simply been too busy to fish much if at all...and there's nothing to report when not much has been caught.

Since fishing for muskies on the Thanksgiving weekend, I've gone on a fishing drought. In fact, I didn't have a chance to fish until January 24. That trip to Lake Rosseau was more exploratory in nature...and as such, we were skunked. This was all we had to show for the day.

Feb 16, 2015

My friend Daria wanted another shot at icefishing again...and she wants to catch fish this time. Seeing it was Family Fishing Weekend (license free), we planned to fish a spot that I knew was pretty decent for Lake Trout. Everything was against us from the start. Our day fell on one of the coldest day of the winter. We got to a late start when the car that Daria borrowed from her father needed a top up on brake fluid. On the way to our location, the car had some strange vibration on the highway that was a bit worrisome, but we pushed on. After our little pit stop for washroom break and Timmy's we started the car again to find the check engine lights on...and yet, we pushed on. As if the camel's back hasn't broken enough, as soon as we got to our parking spot, the car battery died. Thankfully, another group was just leaving and they gave our car a boost. We concluded that most of the car issues were likely due to the cold weather...and we were at a crossroad where we needed to decide either to cut our losses and go home for safety sake, or we would risk it and simple go fishing since we were already here. In the end, we decided to fish.

It was just at that moment, when we were putting all the gear on my sled, that we realized I left all the rods back in my car in Toronto. Great! We drove 2.5 hours with all the car trouble just to have zero rods to fish. Rummaging through my bucket, I found an almost empty spool of 15lb mono that I use to tie pike leaders, and a spool of 8lb fluorocarbon that has much less than the printed 50m when it was new. We just have to make the best out of the situation and hope there was enough line to fish.

Finding our spot at 60 feet of water, we barely had enough line to reach the bottom. If a bigger fish were to take a run, we would only have an extra 10 feet of line for the fish to run. It was either to snap off the fish, or end up with no line to fish.

It actually took only 5 minutes before we got our first hit. After missing a couple of hits since we had to learn to time the hookset by hand, we finally got it right and had a little Lake Trout on the ice.

But bringing up that fish was a lesson learned...as it was very difficult trying to wrap the line back onto the tiny spool nicely without tangling. If we don't wrap fast enough, we can't keep the line tight enough. In the end, we came up with a solution...

We only had 3 hours to fish since we didn't arrive until 1pm. Fearing we had missed the prime morning bite, I was worried the 2 hits and 1 fish would be all we got for the day. However, the fish were active and we missed 8 hits and land 3 fish by 4pm. Daria was absolutely pleased with the result since she has yet to catch a fish while icefishing.

We both felt greatly accomplished after all the knocks that were thrown at us from the start. Thankfully, the drive home was much less exciting and Daria got to bring home a trout dinner for her family. I'm just happy we got back alive. :)